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Ask the Expert: Does a Myeloma Patient Need to Be in Remission to Benefit From the Black Swan Initiative?

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Published on October 24, 2017

Patients constantly pursuing treatments to achieve and prolong myeloma remission may wonder if the sensitive testing used in the Black Swan Research Initiative could work for them. Can the initiative enhance the health of only those in remission? Do patients need to be in a certain stage of the disease to benefit? Are there other viable courses of action for patients to take? During this Ask the Expert Dr. Gareth Morgan, Professor of Medicine and Director of the UAMS Myeloma Institute, addresses these concerns and brings awareness to the latest resources and tools available today.

Produced by Patient Power. We thank AbbVie, Celgene, Takeda and Amgen for their support.

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Transcript | Ask the Expert: Does a Myeloma Patient Need to Be in Remission to Benefit From the Black Swan Initiative?

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That's how you’ll get care that's most appropriate for you.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

Andrew Schorr:

Dr. Morgan, here's a question that was sent in from our community by Diana. Diana writes, “Can a relapsed myeloma patient benefit from the Black Swan Initiative? Do you have to be in remission to benefit?”

Dr. Morgan:

The Black Swan Initiative is an initiative to use sensitive tests to a monitor minimal residual disease, so we should talk about minimal residual disease rather than the Black Swan Initiative.

So what is minimal residual disease? Well, you have to be in a remission to have minimal residual disease, so the first step in the treatment of patients is to achieve a classic clinical remission. Those patients do very well, but it turns out if you can get deeper remissions where you can't detect any disease even with very sensitive tests is really what the goal of treatment is these days. So as you move towards achieving a clinical complete remission you should then have your MRD measured with some of the tools that are coming out of the Black Swan Initiative.

The tools that are widely used in the USA are either flow cytometry or molecular testing using next-generation sequencing. So the comparison of the two hasn't been fully explored. They both have pluses or minuses. But really if you can get to be MRD negative, that's one of the best clinical states you can be in after treatment and is something that we can aspire to for the majority of patients as we go forward.

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you.

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